coronavirus illinois

Illinois COVID Vaccine Eligibility Expands to More Essential Workers: Here's Who and When

The state announced a new eligibility timeline last week that will see other essential workers qualify for vaccinations beginning Monday and then even more on March 29

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Some essential workers who were not previously eligible under Illinois' Phase 1B Plus guidelines now qualify for the COVID vaccine beginning Monday.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced on Friday that Illinois will expand eligibility beginning Monday to higher education staff, government workers, and media. Then, beginning March 29, food and beverage workers, construction trade workers, and religious leaders will be eligible for the vaccine.

The new eligibility does not yet apply in Chicago, which is operating under its own framework and timetable because the receives its supply of vaccine from the federal government allocated separately from the state.

Here's a look at the full schedule of vaccine eligibility in Illinois:

DateEligible Groups
December 15, 2020Healthcare workers and long-term care facility staff and residents
January 25, 2021Frontline essential workers (including first responders, K-12 teachers and other public-facing industries) and residents age 65 and up
February 25, 2021Residents with high-risk conditions or disabilities, age 16 and up
March 22, 2021Higher education staff, government workers, and media
March 29, 2021Restaurant staff, construction trade workers, and religious leaders
April 12, 2021Any resident age 16 and up

The changes came just one day after Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that all Illinois residents over the age of 16 will be eligible to get vaccinated beginning on April 12.

“Before Illinois expands eligibility to all residents 16 years and older on April 12, I’m proud to announce expanded eligibility for additional groups of more vulnerable populations," Pritzker said. "With weekly shipments to Illinois surpassing one million doses in April, we are on track to save lives and bring this pandemic to an end.”

All vaccinations will remain by appointment only, officials said, noting that "making an appointment to receive a shot may take time." Newly eligible workers can make appointments at "the more than 900 location in the state’s provider network," Pritzker said.

For a complete look at where and how you can make an appointment in Illinois or where you can receive vaccine information for your area, click here.

That April 12 date is ahead of the timeline that President Joe Biden laid out earlier this month, saying he would direct states to make all adults eligible for the vaccine by May 1.

Pritzker said last week that he felt "confident" in vaccine supply moving forward and that he believed the state could advance ahead of that deadline.

Illinois entered what's called Phase 1B Plus of its vaccine rollout plan late last month, expanding eligibility to individuals with certain high-risk medical conditions and comorbidities. That's in addition to the already-eligible health care workers and long-term care facility staff and residents who qualified in Phase 1A, plus the frontline essential workers as well as residents age 65 and older who became eligible in the earlier iteration of Phase 1B.

For a full look at who's eligible to get vaccinated in Phase 1B Plus, click here.

But when the state entered Phase 1B Plus, several jurisdictions, including the city of Chicago, suburban Cook County and several other counties in the area, announced that they would not expand eligibility along with the rest of Illinois, citing low vaccine supply.

Chicago officials announced Wednesday that the city will move into Phase 1C, which includes all remaining essential workers as well as all adults with qualifying health conditions, on March 29. Chicago will not expand eligibility to all adults with the rest of the state on April 12.

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